Showcase: Alcoholic Beverages

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Absolut Premium

Absolut's new super-premium vodka is called Level because that's allegedly just what it is; it "embodies the perfect balance of smoothness and character from its unique combination of two distillation methods," according to Absolut. The intro TV spot is a stylish black and white :60 called "Balancing Act," in which a couple has martinis while perched 50 feet in the air atop poles held by waiter/acrobats. The bottle itself, designed by PearlFisher, features an "elegant frosted surface and gleaming silver cap, designed to stand out in an exclusive crowd," according to the client, with a metallic silhouette of the Absolut bottle embedded in the glass.

Client: Level vodka Agency: TBWA/Chiat/Day/N.Y. CD: John Hunt Creative Group Head: Patrick O'Neill CD/AD: Joseph Mazzaferro CW: Andy Hall Agency Producer: Lora Schulson Director: Daniel Barber/RockFight Editor: Rick Russell/Final Cut, London Effects: Jason Watts/Finish, London Music: Elias Arts

The Beer for Lovable Losers

Cliff Freeman is uncharacteristically old style for Pabst's Old Style beer-a brew synonymous with Chicago and the Chicago Cubs, according to the agency. "We wanted to tap into the Old Style lifestyle and hit on emotional truths Cubbie fans could relate to and laugh with," explains CD Dan Morales. "Everyone at Wrigley Field drinks Old Style. It's a Chicago tradition. If you bleed Cubbie Blue, then you're not thinking twice about ditching work to catch a day game and have an Old Style in the middle of the afternoon."

Client: Pabst Brewing Co. Agency: Cliff Freeman & Partners CD: Dan Morales AD: Matthew Woodhams CWs: Dan Morales, Jim Kourakis, Brian Murphy

The "Russian" Rush

Good news for maltoholics: Georgi vodka is out with something called Georgi Rush, and no, it's not endorsed by Rush Limbaugh as the beverage of choice for washing down OxyContin. It's the brainchild of New York's Needleman Drossman & Partners, and "we just wanted the name to imply that you'll get a good feeling from drinking the product," says Edward Drossman, a spokesperson for the agency. "Georgi has tremendous brand recognition, and it's now the largest-selling vodka in the metropolitan market." Which explains why we're always tripping over pint bottles of it in the gutter. "With Georgi Rush, we wanted to leverage the look and equity of Georgi vodka, but make it fresh and young. The new labels feature an array of Georgi girls who are out for a night of good, clean fun. The labels are almost like ads themselves." Nevertheless, ND&P is developing an ad campaign and a website for Rush.

Client: Star Industries/Georgi Vodka Agency: Needleman Drossman & Partners AD: Bob Needleman CW: Neil Drossman Designer: Louise Kozminski Photographer: Doug Ordway

Troegs Puts on Its Thinking Cap

Troegs is a Harrisburg, Pa.-based brewery that's available in a very select five-state region, which includes Maryland, Delaware, Virginia and New Jersey. It's owned by two brothers who hand-brew the beer, and they'll distribute only as far as they feel the product will stay fresh. These beautiful print/poster ads, from local agency Neiman Group, are staying fresh, and they run simultaneously with an "Art of Drinking Troegs" contest campaign, which includes table tents and posters. The idea is to get Troeg's drinkers to create work out of bottle caps. The winning artist gets a hand-crafted bar stocked with Troegs. Cool. We've already sent in our five-cap "Salute to the 2004 Olympics."

Client: Troegs Agency: Neiman Group CD: Rudy Banny AD: James Madsen CW: Rich Hilbert

Ropin' Beers in Portland

Integrated marketing communications agency CMD, Portland, Ore., recently created an interesting package design for BridgePort Brewing Co.'s new 20th anniversary celebratory beer, Ropewalk Amber Ale. Besides the bottle labels, the crown, the six-pack and case box containers, CMD is also handling advertising efforts and will be designing point of sale materials. But what's with the hangman-type name? Well, it's a form of nongallows humor, as far as the company is concerned. According to BridgePort's site,, the name "reveals the brewery's playful side. Ropewalk Amber Ale is a crowd-pleasing brew that promises to reach out to a new demographic of BridgePort drinkers, while complementing the existing family of BridgePort ales. Its vibrant and spirited packaging imparts a lighthearted attitude for the traditional brewing company. The beer's name, which literally means a long narrow building where rope is made, recalls the heritage of BridgePort's building and brewery, which originated as a hemp rope factory more than a century ago. Figuratively, the name honors the adventurous spirit, stamina and daring it takes to succeed in the volatile craft brewing industry." Hence, "a capricious ropewalker is one of the key elements featured on the logo, neck label and crown."

Client: BridgePort Brewing Co. Agency: CMD/Portland ECD: Peter Charlton CD: Mike Crossley CW: John Malarkey

Never Bass Ackwards

Bass Ale takes the "look at all the things we don't do well" tack in a new spot that features some bizarrely clever faux-doc footage. A Bass astronaut is clinging like a baby to the ladder on the lunar module; a Bass Berlin Wall protestor can't handle a sledge hammer; a Bass jockey is running around the track after his horse. But lab-coated Bass brewers are in their element, looking like science studs. Slogan: "Our passion is beer. Reach for greatness." This hype is no doubt aimed at college grad-type domestic-swill drinkers, and we bet it's fairly convincing. As is Bass, compared to domestic swill.

Client: Bass Agency: McCann-Erickson/N.Y. CD: Craig Markus CW: Mark Borcherding AD: Steve Hawkey Agency Producer: Lucia Grillo Director: Bjorn Stein/Hungry Man, Editor: Sarah Iben/Final Cut

Miller Stands One Up

In the ongoing, completely boring fuss about carbs and calories-hello, it's beer, it's supposed to have carbs and calories, that's why it's beer-Miller does a Viagra parody, and attacks Bud Light by name, in the recent attack-marketing beer trend. In "Bartender," a cocky guy named Stu struts through a party, fielding questions like "Waxed your back?" and "Are you going commando?" to reveal that he didn't see his doctor; he saw his bartender, who prescribed just what he needed: a Miller Lite. Very odd, considering drunkenness and sexual potency are hardly bedfellows.

Client: Miller Lite Agency: Ogilvy & Mather/N.Y. Co-Creative Head: David Apicella CD: Joe Johnson ACD/CW: Jonathan Koffler ACD/AD: Doreen Fox Agency Producer: Brendan O'Malley Director: Erich Joiner/Tool of North America Editor: Dave Bradley/Go Robot

Rainier Fires Retro Rockets

You wanna do retro? Then do real retro. So goes the thinking behind Pabst Brewing's "Remember Rainier" campaign in the Pacific Northwest, and the re-airing of Rainier commercials from the late '70s and early '80s, which were produced by Heckler & Associates in Seattle. The spots are allegedly "beloved" of TV viewers, according to current agency Cole & Weber/Red Cell, though the fact that the client has no budget for new spots was surely a key factor in the decision to resuscitate the vintage commercials. "Motorcycle" features an engine-noise voiceover that revs out an extended "Rainier" in concert with the roar of the bike onscreen. "Crossing" is shot as the POV of a family in a car rolling very slowly on a country road; they come to a Beer Crossing sign and, sure enough, two bottles and a can traipse across the road while the family ooohs and aaaaahs. The exceedingly freaky-retro "Whistler" has a woman at the piano, which is graced by a Rainier display worthy of Liberace's candelabrum, singing a Rainier song. She eventually breaks out in a frenzy of virtuoso whistling, throwing in some bird calls for good measure. Totally rockin'. The cornerstone of the campaign is RainierVision, a locally produced 30-minute TV show that's airing weekly through the summer. See for more.

Client: Rainier beer Agency: Cole & Weber/Red Cell, Seattle/Portland CD: Guy Seese ADs: Guy Seese, Travis Britton, Dylan Bernd, Jeremiah Whitaker CWs: Guy Seese, Jim Elliott

Skyy Gets Fruitful

Skyy's recently introduced flavored vodkas, like Melon and Berry, get the reliable visual assurance of longtime Skyy shooters Moshe Brakha and Matthew Rolston. The Melon ad's gape-mouthed, deep-cleavaged model and a ripe honeydew may be a little too sunny and blatant (we didn't have room to show it here but no doubt you've seen it in a dozen magazines already), but this Berry shot is classic Skyy, with sultry hues and a rich infusion of retro glam. Ultra palette-able.

Client: Skyy Agency: Lambesis CD: Chad Farmer ADs/CWs: Maurice Pendarvis, Toby Farmer Photographers: Moshe Brakha (Melon), Matthew Rolston (Berry)

Rheingold is Up All Night

Feisty New York beer-from-the-past Rheingold and brand-building agency Powell went to TV recently with a "Don't Sleep! Take Back New York!" campaign that does nothing less than bitch-slap Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Three spots, driven by hip-hoppy odes to the city, take on the notorious anti-smoking law, as well as "no dancing" cabaret laws and the law against sitting on milk crates, the latter a one-time fuss that was instantly forgotten. But always kick a guy when he's down, we say-Bloomberg isn't particularly popular and probably never will be-even though this writer not only supports his smoking ban but would like to see smokers banned from the street and forced to congregate in special homeless-assembled "tobacco yurts" that will be situated only in rat-infested abandoned lots. "These spots were made to represent the grit, spirit and raw energy of New York-stripped of the rules and regulations that are threatening to mute and sterilize the city," says Neil Powell. "This campaign was especially thrilling to work on because it's sending a message that we at Powell truly believe in." He probably said this while smoking on a milk crate.

Client: Rheingold Brewing Co. Agency: Powell CD: Neil Powell CW: Josh Rogers Agency Producers: Tony Burns, Jenni Katz Director: David Gordon Green/Chelsea Pictures Editor: Julie Drazen/Ohio Edit Music: Sound Lounge

The Bottle Stripped Bare

BBDO/Chicago has come up with a "The Stuff Inside Matters Most" campaign for Jim Beam, which plays on the whiskey's history in a way that every whiskey with a history indulges in at one time or another. But beyond the somewhat labored heart and soul metaphor, which applies to any booze with a lineage, the debut ad with the peel-off label is kinda cool. Yup, you peel off the label and you're left holding this sticky thing that says "1 family, 7 generations, 209 years on the back"-you think maybe these Beam people are a touch inbred?-but this is sure to appeal to bourbon drinkers' desire to strip things and it's a fine way to be noticed.

Client: Jim Beam Agency: BBDO/Chicago CCO: Marty Orzio GCD: Erich Funke AD: Angela Finney CW: Shane Greenwood

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